Wednesday, February 24, 2010

The Gift of Warmth

Every year, the senior class does a Midnight Run to NYC.  They collect jackets, clothes, blankets, toiletries and other items from the St. Luke's community.  Camille DeMarco-Havens, whose warm and loving personality embraces us all on a daily basis, runs this program with heart and passion.

My husband went through his clothes and donated many pants and shirts, many of them with the tags still on them.

I went to my linen closet and pulled out an abundance of blankets.  Like my younger daughter, I develop an attachment to things.  Each blanket holds a memory.  This one was the first blanket I bought when I was working and started making money.  So and so gave that to me for Christmas when we moved into our first house. That blanket was draped over the rocking chair in my daughters' room when they were babies.

I had a selfish impulse to take my blankets and place them back into the secure confines of my closet as tangible artifacts of my history.

I had another flash ... of people in the here and now, with no homes and little resources, out in the cold, hard rain and sleet we've been enduring here.  I saw my blankets descending gently around their shoulders, spots of cobalt blue, ruby red, and patterned green in an otherwise gray landscape.

I took my blankets, washed and dried them, brought them to school, and placed them in the Midnight Run basket.

I always say that if I had a lot of money, I would give most of it away, knowing how much impact that money would make in people's lives.  But it's worth acknowledging the impact of all acts of generosity, including those small packages which carry the gift of warmth and care for our fellow man.

Thursday, February 18, 2010

Counting Your Blessings

"We count our miseries carefully, and accept our blessings without much thought." -- Chinese proverb

It's easy to focus on all that's wrong in our lives. A traffic jam on our way to work. A person who is rude to us. Food that we don't like being served at lunch. Someone who missed a deadline or made a mistake.

How wondrous it would be to focus on what's good. All the times we experience smooth sailing on the way to work. All the people who are nice to us. All the food that people take the time to prepare and offer us. All the times someone does something right.

I was talking to Tracey Hamill, our Parents Assocation President, and for all the concerns that come her way as a school leader, she chooses to focus on the many words of thanks that she receives from fellow parents and faculty.  When she shared some of these lovely comments, her face lit up with the knowledge that her and others' work was meaningful. Her smile was dazzling.  She made me smile too.

Tracey's got the right idea.  Count your blessings and share the wealth.

Tuesday, February 16, 2010

Gifts Come in Unexpected Packages

I am an avid Facebook user. I don't play the many games that people play, but there is one application that I really appreciate. It's called Message from God.

Every day I receive pearls of wisdom that inspire me.

Here was today's gem:

"The way you treat others is the way you treat yourself. True respect for another comes from self respect. True love for another comes from self love. True forgiveness for another comes from self forgiveness."

How true. Philanthropy, or "love of mankind" which is what the word means, starts at home, in the heart of the individual.

Wednesday, January 20, 2010

Help to Haiti

Picture from here

In adversity, we often show our true humanity.

Despite everyone's economic woes, the outpouring of help to those in Haiti has been overwhelming. Even when things seem scarce, we all realize how much we have in times like these.

Here at school, students are gathering funds, and I'm sure many of us have made donations to the American Red Cross, Americares, Unicef, Doctors without Borders, Hope for Haiti Now, and other organizations so they can extend much needed aid, supplies, and support.

My thoughts are with the people of Port-au-Prince and those who are on the ground.